‘Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us’ (Hal Borland)

I came across this quote in a card that I received a few years ago, that I’ve kept for personal reasons. At the time I didn’t give it as much thought as I might have done, but this year it strikes a very relevant chord.

Christmas has come and gone, a wonderful time spent with family and friends, but now thoughts turn to New Year.

New Years are rightly, times of optimism, when the past is swept away, the slate wiped clean, and infinite opportunity to improve ones life prevails. Whether it’s to lose weight, find a new job, give up smoking, find a new love, learn a new language, new years are the times that we make promises to ourselves that this year will be different.

The problem is, most of us don’t change the one thing that will make these hopes and dreams a reality. Ourselves.

We get stuck in the same old rut. The same crappy job, the same unfulfilling relationships, the same bad habits. I am as guilty as the next. I tend to get stuck in the past and have trouble appreciating the present.

The other danger is that we become so disappointed with ourselves that it triggers a negative outlook on life which clearly isn’t healthy. We must learn to love and accept ourselves, with all our human fallibility, to truly embrace life and all the joy that it can offer.

To change things we must take steps to make things happen. There’s no point pursuing the same old patterns and expecting the outcome to be different. These steps need not be dramatic and sweeping. In fact they probably shouldn’t be as they’ll probably have less chance of being implemented. Even little changes can make a difference.

I’ve spent much of this year coming to terms with the loss of a relationship that ended in late 2010 and examining myself as to how and why I failed. I know I have many faults, not least the inability to appreciate the present, but I have many good qualities too and at year’s end prefer to focus and build on those. It’s so easy to get stuck in the past, but there comes a time when you simply have to let go and build a new future.

This coming year I would hope to break the pattern of previous years and make healthier choices, both physically and emotionally, to ignore my detractors, reduce or eliminate things that drain my energy, focus on the good things in my life (of which there are many) and aim to find some much longed for peace and contentment.

“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” ~Gandhi